Two new NZ-built yachts for German yachtsman Michael Illbruck. David Glenn reports 9/3/06

When Auckland-based composite specialists Marten Yachts failed last year Michael Illbruck’s 72ft Reichel Pugh-designed pocket maxi Pinta was only half complete. Illbruck had planned to have the yacht in the Mediterranean this summer, so to keep the programme on track Ian Cook’s Yachting Developments Ltd stepped into the breach to complete the job.

They took delivery of the all carbon/Nomex hull and deck shells and went on to complete the yacht which will be plucked from Auckland Harbour later this week, de-rigged and packed up as deck cargo for the six week passage to Europe.

Although at first glance the 72ft Pinta(see photo)is race orientated she is in fact a dual role yacht with plenty of press button and joystick hydraulic controls, a big owner’s cabin right up forward and berths for another 10 (Illbruck has five children) right aft.

According to John Douglas of YDL, who is about to relinquish his role at the company after developing an epoxy allergy, Illbruck wants to take part in ‘fun’ regattas and possibly the Maxi Rolex event in Sardinia. Pinta steps a pretty racy Marten Spars rig with PBO backstays and jumper stays. She’s fitted with a 3m retractable prodder and in the same forward compartment is a fold-over anchor system. A dinghy garage and a large sun bathing area aft suggest that racing isn’t the only role this yacht will fulfil.

Between Michael and his father Willi, the Illbrucks have had six yachts built in New Zealand and have enjoyed a good relationship with the industry. When Marten went the Kiwis feared for the Illbruck custom but when Michael decided he wanted a TP52 as well as the 72-footer, he chose Mick Cookson in Auckland to build her.

We’ve been watching the little Pinta on trial in Auckland Harbour where she has been able to enjoy a fresh but coolish south-westerly blast. We look forward to seeing both boats in Europe where a number of the Emirates Team New Zealand crew are rumoured to be lining up to help campaign the yachts.